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Hardball With Chris Matthews

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Ukraine 22, Russia 20, Us 17, Nato 12, Iraq 10, Rachel Maddow 7, Crimea 7, Kristol 6, America 5, U.s. 5, Steve King 4, Charlie Cook 4, Washington 4, United States 4, Warfarin 4, Usaa 3, Ge 3, Vladimir Putin 3, Poland 3, Obama 3,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews  

    March 4, 2014
    4:00 - 5:00pm PST  

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medicaid are going to be leaving up to 5.4 million americans uninsured. and that doesn't have to happen. work with us to get this done. >> despite all that republican obstruction, americans are getting covered, and that's a good thing. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. keeping the cold war cold. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this. i've never heard so many right wingers screeching for a new cold war. the same right wing hawks who hauled this country into iraq for no good reason are up to their old jingoism. brett stephens of "the wall street journal" ends his call to battle with this piece of
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incendiary hell. quote, only a president as inept as barack obama could fail to seize the opportunity to win or even wage the new cold war all over again. well, this guy wants us waging a cold war with russia. listen to bill kristol, that old five-star general of the cold war. he says we need to, quote, humiliate vladimir putin, humiliate him, rub his face in it. steven hadley said he wants to put ukraine in nato. great idea. then we could fight the russians ourselves, which nato membership would require. are all these people crazy? weren't they thrilled like the rest of us when mikhail gorbachev decided to end the cold war? why do they yearn to get things fired up again? why do they positively pine for the fighting to get going? my answer, remember the way we got through the cold war was for 44 years, from 1947 to 1991, we, and this included every president from harry truman to ronald reagan, we avoided all the opportunities for the u.s. and the ussr to go to battle with each other.
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that's what we did. so why are the crazies on the right trying to do just the opposite? steven cohen is a professor of russian studies at new york university. and eugene robinson is a pulitzer prize winning columnist for "the washington post" and an msnbc political analyst. professor, thank you for joining us. why would -- let's get to putin here. what do you think he wants to do? what price is he willing to pay to do it? >> we crossed his red line. we've been crossing red lines ever since we began to move nato toward russia in the 1990s. clinton began it. bush continued it. obama rhetorically has continued it. the ultimate red line, and unlike perhaps obama, putin really believes in red lines, was ukraine. what putin saw happening in ukraine, for him, and we can argue whether it was or isn't, it was a direct threat to russian national security in the form of crimea. and so he reacted. >> why would steven hadley, who is a big shot in the bush
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administration be now pushing for nato membership for ukraine? which as i said in the opening would mean we would have to fight the russians personally and directly if they interfered in ukraine, if that were the case. if we put them in nato, then we're all the way on the front lines ourselves. why would this country want to bring our front all the way to the border between ukraine and russia? what would be the national interest in doing that? >> i have to make a generalization. what we're witnessing in this crisis in ukraine, and essentially, it's moving the old metaphorical curtain in berlin right to russia's borders. if it stay there's, my kids, grandkids are going to have to live with it, and it's going to be more dangerous than the last cold war. what this represents is a collapse of bipartisan american policy towards russia. and therefore everyone, hadley and all the rest who are centrally involved in implementing this policy are trying to make it go away by doing one of two things.
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blame only putin. only putin is responsible. he may be hitler or even worse, and say let's fight. and you can't bring ukraine into nato unless you change the rules, because no country that doesn't control its own territory can be in nato. >> right. let me go back to gene you. wrote a beautiful column today. and i -- i don't understand these people. >> yeah. >> they're like the -- remember that old character on arsenic and old lace running up and down the stairs thinking he was teddy roosevelt on san juan hill? that's what these guys remind me of. they're going through some kind of weird flashback. >> keep in mind as you're kind of pointing out, they never go fight wars themselves. they want other people. >> that's the of course. >> this is an unimaginable war. there is no such thing as a hot war with russia. >> there never was from '47 to '91, by the way. >> exactly. that can only happen by accident. accidents are much more likely to happen when you wage the sort of cold war right up against the russian border which they seem
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to want to do. it makes no sense. >> why do they want to rouse up the ukrainians who are already a passionate people and russian in many cases, rouse them up to the point of outlawing russian as the second language and then getting it vetoed? but rubbing their noses in it. what does kristol mean when we have to humiliate a russian leader? >> that is never in our national interest when it's a crisis like this. >> we did it once to khrushchev that was great. we got brezhnev. >> it worked out really well. what you want to do is provide an exit ramp. i'm not sure that the ukrainians are buying into the bill kristol. in fact, they're not. for example, i heard the ambassador to the u.s. from the ukraine today say that russia is a strategic partner of ukraine. you know, they understand the ramifications of ramping this up to a hot level. >> let's take a look at this, professor. conservatives have taken issue with the present diplomatic stance, of course, saying it's too weak. they want us to get tough with
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putin. but what would that be? and what be the result of a diplomatic policy that revolves around calling putin names? john boehner was interviewed. here is what he said, quote, it's time to stand up to putin, calling the russian lead area thug. well, that helps. lindsey graham talked about creating a democratic noose, a noose. if i were southern, i wouldn't use that word around russia. let's watch. >> he very much cares about democracy on his borders. i would like to create a democratic noose around putin's russia. poland and the czech republic, we abandoned our missile defense agreements with them to protect europe from a rogue missile attack coming out of the mid east. russia backed obama down. if i were president obama, i would reengage poland and the czech republic regarding missile defense. i would admit georgia to nato. would have a larger nato presence in the balkans.
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i would fly the nato flag as strong as as i could around putin. >> he is rubbing his face. president roosevelt once said don't mention the word rope in a family where there has ban hanging. here is a thought there. the weekly standard's bill kristol explained that humiliation was the way to go when it comes to the russian leader. let's listen to bill. >> we are too quick to say, to proclaim our own helplessness. and i'm not as fatalistic as jeffrey. if america got its back up and got serious, i think the europeans would follow. i don't expect them to lead in this respect. we could make life pretty miserable for putin in a lot of ways. >> but there has to be a way to find a face-saving solution or some way for president putin to back out of this. >> you want him to be humiliated. he needs to be weakened at home. >> steve cohn, we want him to be humiliated. no offramp. no reason for diplomacy here. what is kristol's problem? what is this neo con brain soup that encourages them to think
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like this? >> you've got two things going on at once. you've got putin bashing and obama bashing coming from these people. >> oh, i seattle. >> and they're not exactly clear which one they want to bash more. give me one personal note. i grew up in the segregated south. i voted twice for obama as an act of historic justice. but he hasn't conducted himself well on the russian matter. we need to find a way to stop this because the next step that is being pushed by people like kristol and the others is to move nato forces to the western border of poland. >> yeah. >> the polish -- excuse me, the polish-ukrainian border. if they do that, russia will cross into eastern ukraine, and pack your bags. >> i'm worried about the sequence of events just watching it from here. i may have missed a couple of these. the professor can add some to it. the russian first of all, the new government, the previous government in kiev killed its idea to join the eu. they considered that in ukraine a double cross.
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then of course they dumped that guy. and then the russians did their thing with the ununiformed guys coming into crimea. what is the next step? that's what the professor makes the point. i worry about the next step. will it be russian or ukrainian? >> we all worry about the next step. putin said today there is no need for further military action. he backed his troops away from the ukrainian border. he's got control of crimea. he secured his base there at crimea he sees as a vital russian interest. and so i think he kind of lets it lie there and he'll see what sort of accommodation can be reached with this new regime in ukraine which he considers illegitimate. but he'll talk to them. >> play god here. what is the answer here. is it an accommodation by both sides that kiev is an independent country with a practice democracy, even though it's been uneven in it, and they're going to have to have some kind of western ties.
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we don't want them in nato, clearly. we don't want them exclusively in eu. we would like them to participate with the eurasian economy we're creating. so they can withdraw the troops and live with some kind of easement, which fully recognizes russia's interests in crimea? >> there are so many questions i think it's yes, yes, no, no, maybe. look, here is the problem. your mentor, your mentor used to say all politics is local. >> right. >> what is driving this crisis now, whatever you think of putin is the insurrectionary extreme politics in ukraine. now kerry is there today. formally, it said that he is there to find out what they need. but they could say that in an e-mail. we know what they need. they want money and military. he is there to try to chill this government out, because they've been doing provocative things that have been provoking the russians. if this is going to be our government, this so-called government in kiev, which was
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not elected, which overthrow the constitution, which deposed the president and has run parliament, it at least has to behave decently, or america and europe can't rally around it. i think that's what kerry is trying to do. can he do it? i don't know, because all politics are local. >> my thought, gene, i think the president went too far on friday. i think the president played his part in this escalation on friday. what do you think? it's been calm enough. >> i don't think the president did anything particularly wrong. you know, because what putin did was an aggressive move. i think the professor is right. i think the government in kiev has to figure a way to live with russia, which after all is going to be next door. >> yeah, i agree. >> it's next door. >> that's what kerry is saying, apparently. >> it's the idea that we can cost putin popularity in russia when in fact he is playing on national sentiment in russia and the sense in russia that ukraine is really part of russia. >> yeah. >> certainly crimea.
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it's just crazy. it's just crazy. it's not going to happen. >> the hardest thing for us to realize is other people's nationalism is their patriotism as well. thank you steven cohen and eugene robinson. coming up, calling president obama a tyrant and he accused him of abusing power. if you listen to them now, they're calling the president weak and impotent and cautious and timid. all the words they love to use. is it possible to be right in both cases or none? all the big issue, minimum wage, helping the middle class, even health care. so why do the 2014 midterms look like, well, a big steep climb for the ds? and why did we do it? rachel maddow, a great question. we're going to preview tonight with her documentary on why the bush administration sent hundreds of thousands of americans to war in iraq. why did we do that war? and why were bush and cheney fixated from day one when they got in power on a country that had nothing to do later on with the attacks on 9/11? why. great question.
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rachel maddow, my colleague answers it and begins to do that tonight here on "hardball." and look who has taken the wheel of the right wing clown car. steve king. he has a wild theory about gays now and why some people out there especially down in arizona might want to pretend to be gay. that's a new one. steve king of the perfect author. this is "hardball," the place for politics. so we're up early. up late. thinking up game-changing ideas, like this: dozens of tax free zones across new york state. move here. expand here. or start a new business here... and pay no taxes for 10 years. with new jobs, new opportunities and a new tax free plan. there's only one way for your business to go. up. find out if your business can qualify at start-upny.com this is the first power plant in the country to combine solar and natural gas at the same location. during the day, we generate as much electricity
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welcome back to "hardball." when talking points collide. that's what is happening on the right as conservatives try to balance 2000 competing narratives about this president, barack obama. one is he is a dictator, lawless and imperialistic. the other is that he is weak and feckless, unable to get his way when dealing with situations like ukraine, of course. we hear our conservatives criticizing that first president obama, the lawless wanna-be king. >> he said let's make this a year of action. and then he declared himself king obama shortly thereafter. so he said do it, but if you don't do it, if you don't do what i say, i'm going to do it anyway. he really doesn't see himself restricted in any way by article 2 under the constitution. that's his limitations in powers. >> he fully intends to trash the constitution of the united states, to ignore congress, the balance of power, and simply seize control and do whatever he wants to do.
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this was the state of the union where our president declared he would become america's first dictator. >> he might have a pen, and he might have a phone, but what he does not have is the constitutional power to run this country like a dictator. >> we don't have kings in this country. i know this president thinks he can just interpret the constitution, apply the laws and when and how he wants. we don't have kings. >> the obama administration has ignored laws, failed to enforce laws, undermined laws. but neither the president nor the attorney general had the constitutional right to make or change laws themselves. that is what happens in a dictatorship or a totalitarian government. >> congressman randy webber called the president kommandant in chief. first relief of obama's speech reads like dictates from a king.
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so he is a king and a dictator. yet as we've seen this past week, he is also totally powerless in dealing with vladimir putin. let's watch the other side of the coin. >> every time the president goes on national television and threatens putin or anyone like putin, everybody's eyes roll, including mine. we have a weak and indecisive president that invites aggression. >> i think putin is playing chess, and i think we're playing marbles. >> why do we care? because this is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy where no one believes in america's strength anymore. >> putin decides what he wants to do, and he does it in half a day. he makes a decision and he executes it. quickly. then everybody reacts. that's what you call a leader. president obama, i got to think about it. he's got to go over it again. he's got to talk to more people about it. >> the perception of him and his potency across the world is one of such weakness.
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and, you know, look, people are looking at putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. they look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates. >> she is actually starting to look like tina fey, which is a compliment. so apparently he is a lawless dictator. also wears mom jeans. and he is impotent and all these other things. dana milbank wrote, quote, russia's invasion of ukraine, obama's critics pivoted seamless from complaining about his overreach to fretting that he is being too cautious. call it oxymoron. well done. dane ma milbank joins us right now. and alex wagner. i'm going to start with the visitor here today, alex, before we start with you, because you wrote the column. what is he, mussolini at home but don knotts on the road? who is this guy? he goes home and kicks the dog because he gets fired? who is he? >> it's very difficult to be a timid dictator.
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it takes a lot of practice and skill. i guess it's theoretically possible this guy could be an absolute tyrant to his domestic critics and suddenly be this pushover with everybody overseas, and the conservatives would say the unifying prince p.m.s that obama just hates america and he wants to do whatever he can to disrupt this country. i think a more rationale explanation is these guys are just opposed to whatever obama is doing and they'll come up with whatever criticism is convenient at the time. these are often the same people four weeks ago calling him a dictator and a ruthless tyrant who are now calling him a weakling. it's not different people. these are the same people. >> it's interesting, alex. i grew up in the cold war, of course. and i watched reagan who was in many ways, legitimately given credit for beginning that relationship with mikhail gorbachev that finally ended the whole thing and yeltsin standing up to the tanks in 1991. give credit to everybody, but mostly to harry truman for beginning it and figuring out how to fight wit containment. containment is very important.
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you don't go to the war with the russian. that was the whole idea. don't rub them into a corner where they have to start shooting at us, because then the world blows up. i don't know if this crowd around the right wing now has that same grownup attitude about the end of the world. maybe we would never go to nuclear war with them again. but we're both nuclear armed nations and we're both very nationalistic. they don't mind jumping along that cliff. they don't mind risking it looks like, people like kristol. >> i think you do know the answer to that question. this republican party, the modern conservative movement is exactly -- it is a party of oxymorons. i mean, and i really mean actually more emphasis on moron than oxy here. on every single issue on the agenda, whether it's foreign policy, whether it's domestic, whether it's the economy, there is no consistency. this is the party that says jobs, they're our number one concern. and then they completely abandon any job creating measures. they hijack or they just stall unemployment insurance and give
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not a wit of care to the working and unemployed. they talk about obsessions with deficits and debt. and then they refuse to raise revenue in any form or fashion. >> advertisement reform with the chained cpi last year. they don't back him when he is trying to do what they say they want to do. >> they predicate their position on ignorance. and nobody actually calling them out. i mean, the sound that you played at the beginning of this segment, that's the -- that's all you need to know about the republican party. on the one hand, on the other hand. and in the meantime, if you ever ask them for a meaningful piece of policy, of governable policy, they have nothing. >> you know the guy's running around a big arena, trying to get to the farthest right. well, they always want to be the hardest rail to the right. take a look at lindsey graham here, who seems oftentimes a reasonable guy, but he is so scared of looking reasonable because it will get him killed in south carolina. on twitter he wrote today, isn't it original? it started with benghazi.
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when you kill americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression. so somehow in the middle of the night in benghazi, that horrible moment when we lost a great guy, chris stephens, and nobody could be there, he went out there to that facility and got killed by people he couldn't predict their behavior, it happened and it was hell. somehow that ignited the ukrainian situation, the fight over joining eu. and the whole mess. how can that relate? i don't know the connection. >> he is under a great deal of pressure and stress these days. let's give lindsey graham a little slack as he fights his primary battle. but look, let's do a little thought experiment and say suppose obama had reacted in a very bellicose way, committing us to god forbid american troops on the ground in ukraine or some bombing campaign or something, they'd of course be saying this is strictly being done to distract from obama care and from benghazi. so what option would he have prevailed without having some level of criticism? >> let's go to this.
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what is the alternative again here? i hate to ask the obvious question, alex, but i'm pinning you with it. what is the republican policy towards ending the problem with the ukraine and the russian people having a fight with each other. what is it? is it the total utter humiliation of vladimir putin? he doesn't look like the kind of guy who likes being humiliated. so in order, getting him into a fight. that their goal? get him into a fight. because if you listen to them, that's what it sound like their goal. some kind of fight with moscow. >> if you listen to what bill kristol is saying, that seems some kind of fight and humiliation is what is necessary. but in the process, keep in mind that you are then throwing to the trash bin of history any movement on iran's nuclear program or any cooperation from the russians on syria, which if you hear other conservatives say are big priorities and things we should be really focused on in terms of our foreign policy and national security. it all goes back to your original point, chris. the on the one hand, on the other hand strategy there is no
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actual policy here. it is a vacuum in space. no one can hear you scream. >> i think you guys figured out the only way to talk about obama if you're a republican is to trash whatever he does at the moment he does it, and don't worry about the logic. thank you, dana milbank. by the way, if ronald reagan was great because he found a way to end the cold war, and that's the base of his greatness, why do they want to go back to it? it doesn't make any sense. anyway, up next, congressman steve king of course from iowa, strikes again. he is worried than veto out in arizona, that anti-gay law out there will just make people pretend to be gay so that they can sue the local business of their choice. think about that and how his mind works. this is "hardball," the place for politics. underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ she can print amazing things, right from her computer. [ whirring ] [ train whistle blows ] she makes trains that are friends with trees.
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you are sweating a lot. let me get you some tissues here. >> no we're good, we're good. >> do you mind if i dab you, mr. mayor? on ebay afterwards. i'm going to take the dna from this tissue, i'm going to clone you and we'll have a whole army of you in l.a. that's good. >> time for the sideshow that was jimmy kimmel sharing an intimate moment with toronto mayor rob ford on his show last night. while their interview was funny, it was also awkward. no topics were offlimits, including the mayor's past drug use. hmm. next up, jan brewer vetoed the bill to allow businesses to discriminate against gays on the
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basis of religion. but iowa congressman steve king is still defending that law. why? king says that sex orientation is what he calls self-professed behavior. and therefore he says business owners might not know just who they can or cannot discriminate against. >> it's clear in the civil rights section of the code that you can't discriminate against people based upon -- i'm not sure i got the list right, but race, creed, religion, color of skin, those kind of things. and there is nothing mentioned in there on self-professed behavior. the one thing i reference when i say self-professed is how do you know who to discriminate against? they have to tell you. and are they then setting up a case? is this about bringing a grievance or is it actually about a service they would like to have. >> so what mr. king is saying there is that customers could claim to be gay just to entrap business owners into discriminating against them so they could then seek legal reparations. here is a further question. is religion not by his wording also self-professed?
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finally, "12 years a slave "got the oscar on sunday night. while rush limbaugh didn't actually see the movie, he still has a theory explaining why it won. >> there is no way that movie was not going to win. if it was the only thing that movie won, it was going to be win best picture there was no way. it didn't matter if it was good or bad. i haven't seen it. it was going to win. it had the magic word in the title, "slave." >> slavery. hmm. that's rush limbaugh. isn't he perfect? up next, democrats have an advantage over republicans on some of the biggest issues around. look at the polls. so why are they not -- these advantages not translating into a lead in the upcoming midterm elections? the polls don't match, but the issues now only eight months away, these elections. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. she's kind of special. she makes the whole team better. he's the kind of player that puts the puck, horsehide, bullet. right where it needs to be. coach calls it logistics.
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i'm milissa rehberger. here is what is happening. president obama unveiled his
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2015 budget, calling it a road map for jobs and expanding opportunity for all americans. house speaker john boehner called it irresponsible. michelle obama is heading to china later this month. earlier she visited a chinese immersion school where she asked students about chinese language, food and culture. stocks rallied after tensions in ukraine eased. the dow surged 227 points, its best showing of the year. the s&p hit a new record. back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." it's hard to say trust me when you threaten to blow up the economy by government default or when you follow a wacko bird like ted cruz into battle and shut down the government, or when your best prospect for the white house bullies his way into two criminal probes. so restaurants couldn't have been too surprised when they picked up "the washington post" this morning and saw this.
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pollsters for the post and abc news asked people which party do you trust more. and the result was a near democratic sweep. dems have a 13-point edge over republicans when it comes to helping the middle class. they have an eight-point margin over republicans on health care, immigration and energy. they even have a one-point lead over republicans when it comes to taxes. taxes. and it's an even playing field when it comes to the economy. but the only major issue where people trust republicans more than democrats is on the budget deficit, and there only by two points. yet despite all that, things look bleak for democrats in this year's midterm elections. we all know that. they don't stand a chance to regain the house. and according to an elections expert, charlie cook, they're losing their grip on the senate where republicans need to pick up net six seats to retake the majority. charlie cook put it bluntly today, saying, quote, democrats' chances of holding on to their majority in the senate is looking increasingly tenuous. there are now at least ten and potentially as many as 13 democratic-held seats in jeopardy. 10 to 13. by contrast, only two gop seats
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are in any meaningful danger. and that number hasn't changed in six months. things are starting to look grisly for senate democrats. that's charlie cook. another blunt way of putting it was john lovitz's classic betrayal of michael dukakis in 1998 when lovitz quipped i can't believe i'm losing to this guy. it boils down to a simple question. if people trust democrats, why would they vote for these guys in the republican party? david axelrod is former senior white house adviser and michael steele was children of the rnc. both are msnbc political analysts, and we're lucky for that. david, let me ask you. how come this doesn't crosswalk? how come there is a consistent pattern of people supporting one party on the issues and supporting the other on election? why is there a con diction on who you want to vote for and who you agree? >> if this were a national election perhaps these numbers would correspond. but we've got structural issues here that charlie cook hinted at. first of all, the sixth year of
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a president's term historically cuts against the party that has the white house. secondly, we've got seven democratic senators who are currently running from states that mitt romney carried in 2012. three of them are retiring. so we've got three seats up in south dakota, in west virginia and montana. it's going to be very hard to keep. and four others who are in very tough races. we've got popular long-term incumbents in michigan and iowa who are retiring. and those states should be in the democratic column, but they're going to be tough, close races. and as charlie points out, we only have a couple of pickup opportunities on the other side. and then the last problem we have is we've historically been bad as a party in motivating our base in midterm elections. and that's going to be the big challenge for a lot of these candidates. can you make the electorate look more like it does in a presidential race. if we do, i think we can do pretty well. >> let's take all three of these things. most of the hot race for the senate are in the red states
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which voted for romney, strongly republican. secondly, you've got this sixth year of a presidency. it's always a great year to say enough of this guy. let's take those two things. minorities and young people that don't tend to show up every election. they show up in presidential years. so all three, aren't they the cards stacked against the democrats no matter if people do agree with them? >> they are stacked against the democrats. and the question the democrats and, you know, mr. axelrod has put it very bluntly, a national election versus a local election. when i'm voting for my senator, yeah, there are big national issues. but it's still more of a local flare. you know, he is a homegrown guy and all of that. versus the national subjects that everyone is talking about, which is why you see the disparity between the polls saying we're with the democrats on the issues, but i'm going to vote for the republican because i like him or he's -- i know him or there is much more of a connection. so that's what is going to get played out over the next few months. the challenge for the democrats is how do we poison the well for that local election. >> yeah. >> for that u.s. senate seat. and that's going to be the real
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challenge, because the deck is stacked against them. because if you want to tack about obama. >> who wants to poison the well? >> the democrats have to poison the well for the republicans at the quote local level. >> let me go back to david, because i see a couple of problems that don't have anything to do with these patterns especially. i'm looking at michigan. that's a tough one. i'm looking at oregon. that's a tough one. al franken, who has done everything right, three years of living out there, doing his job, keeping his head down, no national interviews, being a great senator, attentive to all the issues, it's not going to be easy in minnesota. it's not going to be easy in michigan. oregon is not going to be easy. eddie markey has to fight for reelection. everybody has to fight for reelection. i don't know who is safe besides your friend durbin there is not many who say yeah, that guy is probably going to get reelected. isn't that the case? isn't that the way you're looking at it, david? >> i think that's right. i think we should approach it that way. i've been a little dismayed, and i've talked about it, that some folks are already focused on 2016. we've got the fight of our lives in 2014. and each of these candidates is
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going to have to treat it that way. on michael's point, i do think that we need to localize some of these national elections when congressmen and senators vote against infrastructure for their states. that affects local jobs. the minimum wage in this poll that you mentioned is a huge winner for democrats. and people should run on that. and i'm one who believes that we should sail right into the wind. i'm with president clinton on the affordable care act. this is the only issue the republicans are running on around the country. >> that's true. >> i think we neutralize that at worse and turn it to our advantage at best. >> don't try to hide, don't try to change the subject, right? >> that's exactly right. >> do you agree with him? >> i do. >> meet it head-on? >> i agree with him. look, that's what i had to do in 2010 was to meet the challenge head-on, to look at even those races that everyone was going now, we're not going to win there, and say there is a pathway. so i think that's what the dems are going to have to do. but the challenge still remains, and that one is for the
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republicans, to not get too cocky about this thing. we're talking here in february and march about winning an election in november. and as we have seen in the past, foot-and-mouth disease is not something we're a stranger to. >> the democrats have thrown the kitchen sink at raising the minimum wage, and there are signs it's working to their political advantage right now. according to "the washington post"/abc poll i just mentioned today, half the people say they're more likely to vote for a candidate who supports raising the minimum wage versus only 19% who said they would be less likely to vote for that candidate. i guess compare that to the same question about the federal heck law. 34% said they would be more likely to vote for somebody who supports the law. in other words, it's not the kiss of death. it's kind of a wash for affordable care. i guess these are going -- you're the expert on this, david. it goes back to passion and whether you really care. people think about guns almost every day. people think about ukraine probably one or two days in their lifetimes they'll think
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about ukraine. your thoughts. >> i really think that's an important point, chris. what dominates the news isn't always what dominates the talk around the kitchen table or at water coolers. pocketbook issues dominate that water cooler discussion. actually, i think the minimum wage has some power. and i thought that number on the affordable care act was interesting. you know, the republicans are pouring tens of millions ultimately hundreds of millions of dollars into that one issue. they don't have a positive program. and that is their message. we're against the affordable care act. i think that's going to end up being a dry hole for them in november. that doesn't obviate all the other problems i talked about earlier. but i do believe democrats have some good issues and ought to be hitting them hard. >> the one thing that concerns me about health care, and you may be right. you're optimistic for the democrats. what i'm afraid, you know when you hear the movie sucks, you don't go see it? >> right. >> they're creating word of mouth. health care sucks. don't get involved with it. that becomes viral. you think i'm lucky, everybody
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is getting screwed by it. i'm worried about the word of mouth, this nasty constant attack on it. >> but the word of mouth is backed up by experience. and that's going to be the problem going forward. >> apparently according to this polling, not in every case. probably 50-50. thank you, david axelrod. thank you, michael steele. you have a good pointed a you made it. we'll be right back. to help protect your eye health. as you age, your eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish key eye nutrients. ocuvite is a vitamin made just for your eyes from the eye care experts at bausch + lomb. ocuvite has a unique formula that's just not found in any leading multivitamin. your eyes are unique, so help protect your eye health with ocuvite.
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rachel maddow joins me right now to talk about what she has discovered and she is presenting in her new documentary. she is coming here next. [ woman ] i've always tried to see things from the best angle i could.
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my colleague rachel maddow seeks to answer that question in her brand-new one-hour documentary that airs this thursday at 9:00 p.m. on msnbc. it's called "why we did it." what a great question. here is a piece from rachel's work. >> 11 days into office, bush assembles his national security team for the first time. along with the vice president and national security adviser condoleezza rice, the principles include secretary of state colin powell, defense secretary donald rumsfeld, and treasury secretary paul o'neill. >> paul o'neill opened up everything for the book i wrote about him in the bush administration, including 19,000 documents. and in the first national security council meeting of the bush presidency, january 30th of 2001, o'neill arrives with colin powell. >> according to suskind, the focus of the meeting that day is the middle east, iraq. >> immediately there is talk of
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the arab-israeli conflict. and then bush says, well, you know, i don't think much is going to be done over there. and then bush says well, what do you think the big issue in the region is? condi rice says i thinkcondi. she says, i think iraq is the big issue, the destabilizing force and that's going to be our focus. >> the reaction of both o'neill and powell is startling. o'neill summed it up, bush basically saying i want to overthrow saddam, find me wa way to do it. >> rachel maddow is host of "the rachel maddow show." she joins me now. i think it was better to have them as a buffer with iran. i was a super hawk about the middle east. i still think it was a mistake. what was your first indication in doing the research on this that we had this penchant, all around the -- with no real opposition. that's another thing that scares me. we got to go to iraq. >> it was actually webhen i did the documentary "hubris" on this
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last year, chris. we did this documentary based on michael isikoff and david corn's reporting about what was false about the case they made to the public. the way we talk about that, now, at least in the last few years, some people still try to make the case, oh, the administration didn't know it was a false case or they were only inadvertently telling lies about what was going on in iraq. we proved in "human beiberis" te a mistake. if it wasn't what they told us, why did we have to go? we had the reporting from ron suskind, day wanted to go regardless of 9/11, before the 9/1 1. if we're ever going to reckon with the legacy of that war, and what happened to us as a people, when the government did that to us when they sold us that false case, we've got to answer that next question. >> bush. george w. bush. i thought he was a common sense guy running in 2000.
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never thought he was a genius, but i thought he was common sense. somehow he became some kind of new -- i couldn't call him an ideological because that would make him too deep. he somehow got this mission, this obsession. was it because his father was t -- they tried to knock off his father? somehow, i can outdo my father? we've gone through this stuff, the frud yan. was it a way of thinking, going back to the days of sapata oil? i don't get it. i can figure out cheney. i have a theory about him. bush, what was his role in this going in early? >> happened here is they believed the united states military was a magic wand. we had obviously been spending more on our military than every other conceivable competitor combined for more than a generation. we were the last remaining superpower. we had this megacapacity it came it the military. why not use it to rearrange the world in a way that will be more
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convenient for the united states on a number of grounds? this new documentary, we can get really specific and i think scarily specific many terms of what exactly they thought they were going to be able to get out after roo rearranged world with iraq off the chess board. i think they thought they could do anything they wanted. why not do it? they were wanton in the way they would use american force in a way that couldn't cost anything. >> winston churchill said there's two kinds of success, initial and ultimate. we can go into any world, knock them over, take over the country. holding it, converting it, leading it. what made them think they could do that to iraq? >> in some ways i think the answer we've come up to to why we did it helps us understand that. part of what they wanted to do was get into iraq in the first place. they wanted saddam out of the way. they wanted structural changes in the way that iraq's economy was organized. and they didn't much care what
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happened to iraq in the long run. i mean, anybody thinking strategically, you're totally right, chris. anybody thinking strategically is going to say, ah, in terms of us and iran, better for them to have iraq on their neighbor -- as their neighbor rather than a shiite-led government that's, you know, at this point allegedly buying arms from iran. strategically thinking in those ways, national security terms made no sense to get rid of saddam. but in economic terms, in the way they wanted to rearrange the world, all that mattered was saddam was gone and the rest they figured they'd sort out later if they sorted it out at all. they planned for the invasion, not what would happen after. >> everybody who watches this network who cares about public affairs and the war in iraq must watch thursday night at 9:00. your usual time spot. perfect time to put it on. everybody should watch who watches any show on this network. >> thank you so much, chris. >> "why we did it." thursday. 9:00 eastern where bgs rre on m.
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let me finish tonight with this. i've been watching a screener of rachel maddow's documentary on the iraq war and why we did it. two realities come out of that title, itself. one, it's been an open question. does anyone still believe the reasons for that u.s. invasion and government overthrow, that the bush/cheney team threw down in the first place, that iraq was going to bomb us over here were a nuclear weapon, that there would be a mushroom cloud over this country? that saddam hussein would
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somehow build and fly a nuclear weapon to the united states and then drop it here so that we could obliterate him and his country? i never believed that argument or the bush/cheney crowd believed it. it was a selling piece. i believe the war was fought because bush and cheney and the neocons wanted to fight it, overthrow and kill hussein. just as they wanted us knocking off every other leader in the region from iran, to libya, to syria who didn't play ball with us. i think knocking off opponents is in dick cheney's brain suit, how he thinks. bush agreed with the way cheney thinks. the second reality that comes out of rachel maddow's title for thursday night's documentary is the iraq war was this country's war. we decided to fight it. we decided to invade another sovereign country. we decided to go in and knock off the government and kill anyone who got in our way. it was us, all the way. and now the same people who blew the bugles for us to invade that country, iraq, are blowing the bugle because some other country, russia, did something a little bit like it. the big difference is, need i
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say, that tens of thousands of bodies, the bush/cheney crowd left in their trail. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. and at this hour, tensions remain ex-streamly high in ukraine. russian soldiers continue to blockade and occupy ukrainian military facilities in crimea. firing warning shots in the air as unarmed ukrainian soldiers sought to regain control of a contested airfield. ukrainian soldiers and their russian counterparts stared each other down in tense standoffs, russian president vladimir putin finally broke his silence on the unfolding situation. accusing the u.s. of treating ukrainians like lab rats and insisting russian